“And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them…” -Acts 14:27 (ESV)
We see in the book of Acts the pattern of Christian workers being sent out from a church and then reporting back to those who sent them all that God had done. As those who were sent out by Parkside Church in 2021 to plant a church, it is our privilege to share with you a little of what God has done in the last year!
The decision to pursue a church plant in the Heights began with a map of where Parkside members live. As we researched, we discovered that there was a large concentration of members in Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Shaker Heights, and Beachwood who would be well-served by having a nearby Parkside church plant. For the benefit of these people, as well as that of the wider community, we began to move towards the Heights area for a new church plant.
After looking for a while for a place to meet on Sunday mornings, God opened a door for us to meet near the Heights at John Hay Campus High School in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland, and we held our first service there in January 2022. While this building wasn't initially on our radar, God knew what he was doing: in addition to having a great auditorium, the building has classrooms for our kids’ ministry, and parking. More importantly, though, it is located only a few blocks away from Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Music, giving us the opportunity to reach many undergraduate and graduate students. There are now groups of them who gather together to walk to Parkside Heights Church on Sunday mornings, as well as some from John Carroll who drive.
Further, meeting in a building that belongs to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District has given us an opportunity to begin engaging with the school. Through another local pastor, we met a coach at John Hay, and have begun to pray with him for the students, faculty and staff of John Hay on the third Sunday of every month. We are hopeful that this relationship continues to blossom, giving us opportunities to not just meet at the school, but really bless the school while we are there.
The other big news since the start of services is the start of a Student Ministry for our middle and high school students. This group has been meeting now for two months and has been following along with what our adults are doing in their Community Groups. A critical mass of students has come, and it has been amazing to watch as the students have begun to build friendships with one another. Even more importantly, each week we meet we have seen the Lord working in our discussions of his Word to grow the students and leaders in their understanding and love for Christ.
We are really thankful for all the support that you have given us over the past year. Thank you for praying for us, visiting us, supporting us financially, encouraging us, and letting us take a bunch of great people to launch the church as part of our core team.
As you think of us, please continue to pray for us. In addition to what has already been mentioned, here are a few other specific ways that you can pray:
Please pray that the Lord would provide office space for us in or near University Circle. We would love to be able to be near the students on campus so as to effectively minister to them.
Please continue to pray for our Community Groups, which meet in local homes in Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Beachwood/University Heights, and Mayfield Heights during the week. Pray that these would be places where the people of Parkside Heights can grow in their relationship with God and find meaningful relationships with each other.
Please also be praying that the Lord would continue to deepen the relationships between leaders and students in our Student Ministry. Pray that students would either come to know Jesus for the first time or grow in their maturity in him.
Your partners in the gospel,
Dan Southam & Peter Lindia